published Monday, April 25th, 2011

Nashville: Kisber cancels meeting to discuss Amazon deals

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NASHVILLE — The state’s former economic and community development commissioner, Matt Kisber, has canceled a planned meeting with Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey to discuss what commitments former Gov. Phil Bredesen made to lure Amazon to Southeast Tennessee.

No explanation was provided. Efforts to contact Kisber were not successful.

Ramsey, the Republican Senate speaker, said last week that Kisber had agreed to meet with him and discuss details of two last-minute economic recruitment deals struck late last year, which includes Amazon’s plans to build two distribution centers in Hamilton and Bradley counties.

Ramsey has also criticized another deal involving the construction of an Electrolux plant in Memphis.

Bredesen’s successor, Republican Bill Haslam, has all but acknowledged that the state is waiving requirements that would make Internet retailing giant Amazon collect sales taxes on purchases made by its Tennessee customers.

Tennessee requires retailers with a physical presence in the state to collect and remit sales taxes from state customers. Under U.S. Supreme Court rulings, states cannot compel retailers that do not have a physical presence in a state to collect sales taxes.

Ramsey told reporters last week that he is not going to interfere with what has already been done. But going forward, he said, changes are needed in how the state commits to such deals.

“There needs to be legislation to have it be more than just one person, apparently, having this carte blanche authority,” Ramsey said.

The Senate and House speakers as well as the governor and possibly House and Senate Finance Committee chairmen also should sign on, Ramsey said.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
nucanuck said...

Retailers of Tennessee take note. Collection of sales tax in Tennessee is apparently negotiable. Hire a lawyer and seek equal treatment. Think how much simpler to no longer be required to collect and remit sales taxes periodically.

Even a bad lawyer should win that class action case.

April 25, 2011 at 3:41 p.m.
alohaboy said...

I support nucanuc's position. What's fair for the goose, ...

April 25, 2011 at 3:59 p.m.
Facts said...

It has been known for years that Bredesen's administration did not operate fairly or transparently. There was absolutely no criticism because those who trumpeted his business acumen were the same who just elected Bill Haslam. Party affiliation is not the issue. We are ruled by the rich, elite with the working folks ignored. Think we'll see anything reported any differently. No. There will be no criticism of Bill Haslam, Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, and all the other millionaire elected officials.

April 25, 2011 at 5:52 p.m.
NoMyth said...

Kisber is a hack and symptomatic of the rampant high-brow cronyism throughout the state. Tennessee: the state where your wallet, your expensive private high school, and your daddy's name (and favors) are all you need to see your ship come in.

April 25, 2011 at 8:58 p.m.
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